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October 14, 2009 at 9:13 AM

Several Sox shine in AFL opener

10/14 Cup of Coffee: Tuesday marked opening day in the desert as the Arizona Fall League officially got underway, with five Sox prospects seeing action and helping Mesa down Phoenix by a score of 10-6. Randor Bierd (1-0) got it all started with 3.0 hitless innings, surrendering just one walk and striking out a batter. Bierd earned the win after Twins prospect Rene Tosoni staked him to a 1-0 lead with a solo home run to lead off the game. With Mesa leading 2-0 and a run already in with two outs in the top of the fourth, shortstop Jose Iglesias smoked an RBI double to left off of Nationals farmhand Josh Wilkie to add to the lead in what would become a four-run inning for the Sox. Iglesias, who was making his U.S. debut after defecting from Cuba and signing with the Red Sox, ended up 2 for 4 with a walk, 2 RBI and 2 runs scored in the game, also driving in a run with a single in Mesa's five-run sixth.

The Solar Sox held a comfortable 10-4 lead going into the bottom of the seventh, but a two-run single by the Desert Dogs shortstop Danny Espinosa (WAS) brought Phoenix closer and put runners on first and second with nobody out. Dustin Richardson made sure the scoring ended there, striking out Brandon Snyder (BAL) and Grant Desme (OAK) before getting highly regarded Nationals prospect Chris Marrero to ground out to end the inning. Chris Province threw a perfect inning of his own in the game, while outfielder Ryan Kalish went 1 for 4. Cubs prospect Starlin Castro also had a good game at the plate, going 3 for 5 with 3 RBI.

Player of the Night: Jose Iglesias, who went 2 for 4 with 2 runs scored and 2 RBI in his US professional debut.